J. Edgar Hoover’s Bad Credit: A Happy Hour Story From Greg

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It’s been a while since we posted an email from a GoDCer. So, here’s a good one we received this morning from newly recruited GoDCer Greg (thank your happy hour friends for us, Greg!).

I was at a happy hour and told this story to some of the people I was with, and they told me about your blog, and suggested I send it in, so here it is:

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Earlier this week I was watching Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar.  In one scene, Hoover is picking out a new suit at an upscale men’s fashion with the help of Nicholas Tolson.  The clerk comes over and asks Hoover some questions about his credit (the implication is that Hoover started going by “J. Edgar” to avoid bad credit history).  As Hoover is signing the receipt, the name “Julius Garfinkel and Co.” can be seen.

I was curious if the company had any significance, so I searched for the name and found this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garfinckel’s. Turns out Garfinkel’s was a very prominent department store catering to higher end customers. Originally, they were at 13th and F St NW (where there is now a Banana Republic, which I had coincidentally been earlier that day), and then built a massive new store on the corner of 14th and F St NW, in what is now houses the The Hamilton bar/restaurant/concert venue.  The next day I passed the building and could clearly see “Julius Garfinkel’s and Co.” engraved on the building above the doorways on F St.

Some interesting history, according to Wikipedia, Garfinkel’s rolled up a couple of high end men’s fashion lines into a single company.  One of those brands was Brooks Brothers.  The company eventually went bankrupt in 1990 and is no longer in existence.

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Anyway, I thought that was interesting.  Thanks for the great blog, look forward to reading more.


Thanks for your email and story Greg. And since you’re new to the blog, make sure you read up on the Patron Saint of Ghosts of DC, Officer Sprinkle.

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Hoover posing with a boxer at a New York City dog show
Hoover posing with a boxer at a New York City dog show
READ:  GoDCer Shares Film Footage of Washington in 1949

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